Monday, November 28, 2005

Day 130

Monday and Sanity is 7 months old today. The weather sure has nothing to do with the calendar. It was warm all day. So much so that I was able to teach and train outside and didn't even have to wear a coat. They say the same will be true tomorrow at least until the rains come. What a treat.

In the retrieving department, we continue to work on the six foot placed retrieve and I am finally starting to see some of the reactions I look for. She is now lunging toward the dumbbell as I place it. When I place it behind the leg of a chair or under the chair she is getting out there and figuring out how to reach the dumbbell and then how to get it in her mouth and back to me FAST. This is another one of those times when wanting to move forward with the retrieve material will only cause problems later on. So we continue to make haste slowly.

A former client and student of mine just passed away and Sanity and I went to the funeral home for the viewing. Wonder why they call it a viewing? It has always seemed to me that it would be better to call it a farewell. Anyway, we went with Pam who is a sometimes student and I like to think is always a good friend. Because of the circumstances surrounding this event there were quite a few assistance dogs present. All the dogs had been trained by the organization I founded all those years ago.

About Sanity.

She was great. She is getting much better at adjusting her speed to mine. It isn't so much that she takes shorter steps, it is more a case of her taking a couple of steps and stopping, then taking a couple more steps and stopping. I know it is hard for her to do, so I don't require close heeling for very long before giving her a break. Her behavior was every bit as good as that of each and every adult assistance dog present. Not one single person wanted to believe that she is only seven months old and that is seven months as of today. She was doing tight heeling, fast, straight sits and immediate downs in very hot, crowded conditions with several strange dogs present. Not too shabby.

After leaving the funeral home we stopped at Chipotle's. Mind you, I like good TexMex food. I don't consider Chipotle's to be in that category. However, since it is run cafeteria style and since that was something that was on Sanity's "Things To Do" list, I said, "sure, let's go."

The table was dirty. The floor was cold and dirty. So okay, its true;I did pick the table. I picked the table because I could put Sanity back in the corner and not have to worry about some fool sneaking up behind her and doing who knows what. I picked it because there was food on the floor and I wanted to work on food refusal. I also picked it because I want Sanity to begin to have more choices.

Dirty, cold, hard, drafty floor equals staying right beside me, while at the same time a down becomes optional. She didn't down at all the entire time we were there. However, she did keep her nose away from the table even though it was at exactly the right height to use as a nose rest and do some begging at the same time. She kept her nose off the floor and rejected the temptation to suck up all the bits and pieces of food scattered around her feet.

All in all I don't think I had to tap the button a half a dozen times as a reminder. At the rate she is soaking up knowledge she is going to be off the ecollar and doing independent work by the time she is a year of age. Pretty impressive stuff and just one more reason why I like starting them early. Actual corrections are very rare these days. Only light reminder taps are needed and then they don't happen often.

I continue to think she is small. Others continue to insist she is large. Could it be that I think she is small because she is light on her feet and very compliant of my wishes? Could it be that others think she is big because she behaves more like how they envision an adult dog behaving? Maybe the real truth is that she is exactly the size a good Doberman should be, medium.

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